Voltage, Plugs and Adapters for Peru
devices have become a staple accessory for travellers in South America but keeping them charged can cause quite a headache, particularly when it comes to knowing what plug type or power adapter you need and what the electrical current of the sockets will be.
Let us help you avoid doing damage to your camera, phone or other electrical items with this quick guide to electricity, plug sockets and voltage in Peru.
Voltage in Peru
In Peru, the voltage in the electrical outlets is 220 volts at 60 hertz.
For most European devices, as well as in India, Australia and many African countries, a voltage of 220 – 250 is normal, so you general won’t have a problem plugging these into a Peruvian plug socket.
In the USA, however, electricity is supplied at between 110 and 120 volts. What does this mean for you?
This means that, if you plug in an item that can’t cope with more 120 volts, you’ll likely fry it, rendering the device completely useless and leaving you with the problem of getting it replaced.
Most modern day electronic devices and travel appliances are designed to withstand both 110 and 220 volts (meaning they support dual voltage). Iphones, laptops and other commonly used items are now commonly built as standard to operate on dual voltage, so you shouldn’t have a problem.
In any case, however, you should always check the voltage information on your device well before plugging it in.
What are the alternatives? If your device cannot be connected to a socket of 220 volts, you can buy a voltage converter (there’s a great list of options, explained by country here).
Plugs and Power Outlets in Peru
Unfortunately, electrical outlets in Peru are known for being a bit confusing. You’ll notice that there are not just one but two types of plug sockets used in Peru.
The plug most commonly used around the country is Type A, which has two flat parallel prongs
It is possible that a Type A plug from the US might not enter in a Peruvian outlet! Flat plugs from the US mostly have two prongs, one a little wider than the other. In Peru, some sockets will only accept flat prongs of the same width! As a result, you will need to buy a power adapter for your devices.
The second type you will find in Peru is Type C, which has two rounded prongs.
Many electrical outlets in Peru accept both the rounded and the flat plugs. However, you’ll find that the Type A outlets are more common so make sure you get hold of the right plug converter before leaving your home country.
Adapters for Peru
The best item to go for is a universal plug adapter, which come with plugs that should - theoretically - fit in all sockets across the globe.
As a rule of thumb, you get what you pay for: the cheaper the adapter, the more likely it is to break on your travels.
Get hold of a universal plug adapter in electronic stores, over the internet or even at the airport – although the latter are normally at least double the price
Quality of Peruvian outlets
Bear in mind that electrical outlets in Peru can pose problems in themselves. A lot of times, plugs don´t enter that well into an socket, even if you are using a plug adapter.
For some outlets, you might have to force the plug in,while, for others, you might need to rest it on a chair so as to avoid the plug sliding out of the socket!
Power supply in Peru
Nowadays, power outages don't happen every day in most cities in Peru.
However, they do happen frequently in Cusco, especially during the rainy season when storms can cause damages on power lines.
It is the best you deal with an outage like you would at home. Get your flashlight or candles and wait for the power to come back. Normally this can take a couple of hours. So, if the power goes out at night, don't expect electricity to be back until the morning
Once you have tried a couple of outlets, you will get the hang of it quickly. However, if you see sparks once you plug in your device, be sure to look for an alternative place to charge up!
Issues with the power supply in Peru
Peru has a history of power outages, particularly in Andean regions where extreme weather can cause issues with the electricity supply. Nowadays, power outages don't happen every day in most cities in Peru.
However, they do happen frequently in Cusco, especially during the rainy season when storms can cause damages to power lines.
Deal with an outage like you would at home get your flashlight or candles and wait for the power to come back, which can take a couple of hours. It’s always wise to unplug your electrical devices from the plug sockets to avoid them being damaged by a potential power surge.
If the power goes out at night, don't expect electricity to be back until the morning.
Water shortages in Peru
Common and of much more inconvenient are water shortages in Peru and particularly in Cusco. The city has an infrastructural problem and many places simply do not have flowing water for a certain period of the day.
Families often save a big barrel in advance if they know that in the afternoon the tap always stops running, or they rely on collections of rainwater from the roof. Having a few bottles on the counter can be a lifesaver if you suddenly find yourself without water for washing, cooking and drinking.
Be aware that in some buildings, water is turned off automatically for a few hours in the afternoon or during the night to save resources and money.